Like the Chicago Bears vs the Green Bay Packers, like Tiger Woods vs Phil Mickelson, like Michael Jordan vs Magic Johnson vs Larry Bird vs Isaiah Thomas. Sure, Augusta National and Pine Valley aren’t exactly rivals, but they’ve always been ranked the number one and number two courses in the world with Pine Valley usually being ranked no.1 and Augusta no.2 with Augusta beating out Valley a couple of times. It’s hard for a lot of people to decide which course is the best because Augusta is much more exposed than Pine Valley. Hundreds of thousands of people attend The Masters every year and get a chance to see the tournament live in person and get to see Augusta right in front of their eyes. While Pine Valley is so exclusive that there’s never been a PGA Tour event there and they haven’t televised an event before making it hard for people to judge. I have not been to either yet.
Pine Valley: The reason why there hasn’t been a PGA Tour event there before is either because of the following according to different sources:
1. There’s not enough room to have a ton of spectators to attend a tournament.
2. Pine Valley’s creator George Crump was focused on amateur tournaments as amateur golf was more popular than pro golf way back in the day and the peeps who run Valley today, wanted to keep that amateur tradition going.
Either way, the only major tournament that’s been hosted there is the Walker Cup twice but both were a long time ago in 1936 and 1985. The only tournament at Pine Valley that the public can attend one day each year is the annual Crump Cup, arguably the most prestigious amateur tournament in America. Fans can only attend on the Sunday round and usually the crowd gets to 5,000 in attendance usually for the most part to explore the course. You don’t hear too much about Pine Valley’s beauty like you do about the design but obviously there are A LOT of pine trees and it’s very woodsy and secluded. In an article written by Michael Fensom of nj.com, New York Daily News golf writer Hank Gola, who played Pine Valley once said the following:
“I’ve played over 750 courses in my life,” Gola said. “It was one of the greatest days of my life.”
Some strong words from a legendary and well-respected golf journalist. Some say that the course is golf heaven while some say that it’s a little over-rated and that it shouldn’t be so strict. A lot of times, those are the people who haven’t stepped foot on the hollowed grounds while there are some who did play the course and weren’t very impressed. For most, it’s a golf experience unlike any other from the moment you enter the gates to the moment when you sink the putt on the 18th green, to some, Pine Valley located in the tiny town of Clementon, NJ is the greatest golf course on the planet.
Augusta National: There are almost no words that can describe Augusta National Golf Club. It puts your dreams and imagination to the test in ways you couldn’t possibly have thought. The one thing that always stands out with Augusta is that it’s so unique that there’s no course that really comes close to looking like it. With its beautiful flowers and signature tall trees, it makes for a breathtaking scene. There are some people who dislike golf that complain that the course looks the same every year so why make a big deal about it (Haters gonna hate.)?
I tell you why. Because it’s the most unique sporting venue in the world and there’s nothing that can touch its looks plus the results at The Masters are never the same and anybody could come out wearing the green jacket. Speaking of the green jacket, the tradition at The Masters separates itself from not only other tournaments but other major sporting events in general. I know I’m a golf writer but I’m a sports junkie period and I will tell you that I would rather attend The Masters more than any other sporting event including the Super Bowl, NCAA Men’s basketball Final Four, World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup, FIFA World Cup or Kentucky Derby. Although all of the mentioned events are fantastic, The Masters just stands out the most to me and Augusta National is obviously a massive reason for that. A lot of people don’t even really come for the tournament itself but to see the course and to visit the legendary and jaw dropping Amen Corner.
Not only is Augusta a gorgeous sight but it is a very well designed course with hilly fairways and fast greens as well as beautifully sculpted bunkers. Even the food at Augusta is supposed to be top-notch. There’s just something magical about the place and as I’ve said before, when I talked to Golf Channel’s Jay Coffin, he said “It’s like going to Disney World” and I think that speaks volumes. I don’t think there’s any other course in the world that has touched and amazed golf fans the way Augusta National Golf Club has.
The Decision: So, I’ve made my decision using only my imagination (Impressive huh?). Hopefully, one day I’ll get a chance to maybe cover The Masters and Crump Cup and give a more realistic opinion but at this point, the winner and it’s not really close is…..Augusta National Golf Club! *Balloons come down as music plays*. Congratulations Augusta! You’ve won yourself a BRAND NEW CAR! All kidding aside, I just think Augusta is too unique and too much for Pine Valley. Pine Valley, although I have a ton of respect for, has the look of a lot of other courses in terms of its surroundings. With Augusta, have you ever seen that many flowers at a golf course? Ever seen so many towering trees? No, and combine that with a well designed course and you have yourself a golf masterpiece.
Pine Valley may have a slight edge in its design but Augusta’s is great to go along with fantastic scenery. To be honest, I’d put Cypress Point (Usually ranked 2nd or 3rd on the top 100 list.) ahead of Pine Valley. Cypress Point is an Allister McKenzie masterpiece and is both challenging and freaking gorgeous. Although Pine Valley may be the most exclusive golf club in the world and has a great history and tradition but in Colin’s world, Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, GA remains king.
Leave your comments on which course you think is the best!
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Colin GP Mieczkowski
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